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Minister speaks out at funeral of tragic Stephanie Bottrill

The son of a Kinghurst grandmother who took her own life over the bedroom tax has been praised by a local minister for speaking out about the benefit changes

The son of a Kinghurst grandmother who took her own life over the bedroom tax has been praised by a local minister for speaking out about the benefit changes.

Peter Combellack, who presided over the funeral of 53-year-old Stephanie Bottrill, accused politicians of using the tragedy for political gain.

He urged mourners, who packed out the chapel at Woodlands Cemetery in Chelmsley Wood last week, to put politics to one side as they grieved for Stephanie.

Stephanie, of Meriden Drive, walked in front of a lorry on the M6 earlier this month, having left a note blaming the bedroom tax for her death.

Mr Combellack told the congregation: " A few weeks ago, no-one could have predicted we would be here and a lot of you will be feeling anger and disappointment.

He went on: "In the letter she left, she told how the bedroom tax was causing her a huge amount of distress because she would either have to find extra money or move to a smaller property.

"It is to her son Stephen's credit that he has spoken out about this and the changes the new benefits system will bring.

"But, unlike politicians, he is not using his mother's death for political gain."

The mother-of-two was told she would have to find £80 a month in rent after losing housing benefit because she lived alone in a three-bedroom house in Meriden Drive.

She was resigned to moving out of her home of 18 years, her son previously said.

Mr Combellack said Mrs Bottrill also suffered from an auto-immune disease which left her in pain.

"When you're suffering from a physical illness or loneliness it can change the way you think," he said.

"Some of you may be feeling a sense of guilt but Stephanie didn't die because you didn't do enough.

"I'm sure some of you feel angry at the Government with the unfair benefit system, but you don't have all the answers and never will."

 

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